Some things are not meant to be. Such was the case with dear Elizabeth. On a bitter cold evening in late winter she bravely called her family to her side. She knew she was about to die. As she embraced her husband she whispered, “Thomas, I am going to have to leave you now. Your dream will live on through your children. You will succeed and have many more children before we meet again. Cherish them, and please plant my lilac tree in the spring. I know there will be apple trees there, too, and flower gardens. I love you very much.” As Thomas cradled her in his arms, she hugged each one of her boys and said, “You will need to be strong and take good care of your father, as I will not be there for you. I just know that you will enjoy a wonderful long life here in Canada and make your father proud of you. I love you all.” Not long after, she breathed her last. Thomas and the boys were devastated. The beautiful, kind wife and mother noted for her rosy cheeks and vivid blue eyes was gone, gone to a better place where she could walk across the rolling green hills and dance amid the bluebells and wildflowers in the meadows. In the dead of winter, far away from any churchyard, Elizabeth’s frail body was made ready, and, as the story goes, later taken down the lake for burial in the spring.
It is thought that she lies in a small rural cemetery, although no headstone can be located, and no record of her burial can be found.
Though her dreams were shattered, a part of her lived on in the lives of her children, all of them becoming steadfast, hardworking prominent farmers in that area of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia.
As was the custom in those days, when being left with a family to raise, Thomas re-married, and had 11 children by his second wife, so his name lives on through his children. He lived to be 81, and is buried in a small country churchyard with many of his family nearby.
The area where they first settled is known as “Old England” today. Many of their offspring, including me, have travelled the original road, constructed with rudimentary tools so very long ago. It is actually shown on the map as “The Old England Road”. It wends its way to the picturesque site my sister and I visited years ago.
In the fall of the same year that my sister and I made the initial trip to explore the homestead of our ancestors, we again made a trip in, this time to plant a “Memory Garden” to honour a third great grandmother who succumbed there many years ago on a lonely winter’s eve, with her cherished family by her side.